Triodos lending rises by 73 per cent in 2009

Triodos lending rises by 73 per cent in 2009
Chrisanthi Giotis, Social Enterprise Live

Ethical bank Triodos UK increased its lending by 73 per cent in 2009 – paying out new loans worth £60m to its customers and agreeing a further £150m-worth.

Triodos UK announced the growth figures for 2009 compared with 2008 yesterday. Head of business banking for Triodos UK Bevis Watts said he had grown his team by six people to keep up with the demand from the social, cultural and green businesses Triodos finances.

‘These loans tell the story of good things happening which is something that gets lost during a recession,’ said Watts.

One of the loans was to Leap Training Ltd, a south London social enterprise which traditionally relied on local authority grants to take disadvantaged children climbing.

Triodos lent Leap money to build its own climbing wall which is open to the general public. The profits will fund excursions and training for excluded young people.

Another loan was to The Wasps Trust in Scotland to refurbish Glasgow’s former fish market and turn it into artists’ studios and offices for cultural organisations.

‘These are all examples of good things going on in depressing times,’ said Watts.

Triodos’s lending was particularly strong in Scotland with about half of the Scottish loans made to renewable energy projects. Watts said that he expected community renewable energy projects, like the wind turbine owned by the community on the Orkney island of Westray (profiled in December’s Social Enterprise), to help fuel more green lending in the future.

‘There’s been a lot of momentum in renewables for some time and I think Westray really sets a benchmark. I think we’ll really start to see a few others come along now,’ he said.

Taking into account repayments, the total Triodos UK loan book is now £248m – a net growth of 20 per cent in 2009 compared with 2008.

Triodos Bank will release its full international results in April.

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